Wal-Mart, Spinach Hummus, and Commonality

I know Wal-Mart has a China-cheap and a what-was-he-thinking-when-he-got-dressed-this-morning/what’s-with-the-butt-crack kind of reputation, but I shop there because it’s close and the mangos are 89 cents and they carry a bubble bath I can’t find anywhere else (probably because the rest of it’s in China).

On Sunday, I had $20 to blow on groceries and knew I could get low-fat cheese, a roll of paper towels, bananas, blackberries, spinach and a bag of carrots there and still come under budget. I also had a dollar to spare in my checking account, so when I was done shopping, I was going to rent a Red Box video, too.

In the checkout line, a man (who I honestly thought from behind was a woman) in a motorized cart was unloading a case of Mountain Dew, a box of Little Debbies, two bags of Doritos, a can of Cheeze Whiz, a container of Cool Whip, and a box of Pop Tarts. Not judging here, but I seriously wondered what kind of freaky party (s)he had going on at home. Very interesting.

Anyway, when he stood up, he somehow put the cart in reverse and it backed up. I wasn’t paying attention (I was still staring at his food choices on the belt) and so…startled…I backed up my own cart, stepping on the toes of the woman behind me.

“Oh!” she exclaimed.

I turned around and was face-to-top of a grey-haired head with a small woman of…oh…75?

“Oh my god, I’m so sorry!” I said. “Are you hurt?”

She laughed.

“Don’t worry! I wasn’t paying attention. I was reading the headlines about the Kardashians!” She rolled her eyes. “Apparently Kim Kardashian lived through a torturous life with her mother or her thighs or hair extensions. Something like that.”

I’d not been in the best of moods and I hadn’t cracked much of what could be remotely considered a smile most of the weekend, but this woman made me laugh. The cashier heard us talking and said, “Yeah…if that’s torture…” and started laughing. Pretty soon, the three of us (and the rest of the folks in the 20-or-less-items line) were laughing, too. It’s not like we really understood why we were laughing, but we fed off each other’s laughter. Obviously more than a few of us were having crappy weekends.

I had topsy-turvy hair, was wearing no make-up, and was flat broke, but I was laughing. The little grey-haired woman was an unexpected and very appreciated gift. But she wasn’t done with me yet.

I took my bags and went to the Red Box. What to rent, what to rent. I’m not one to keep up with Hollywood, so I was a little lost in the titles.

“Even though you ran over me and I have to limp back to my car, I’ll tell you what I’d recommend,” said the woman from the checkout line. Her face beamed and her eyes shined. I looked at her and smiled and felt so at peace. I don’t know her story or who she was or is or if someone was waiting for her at home, but looking at her, I felt like she understood what was going on in all my aloneness and dysfunctional functionality.

“Check out ‘Grown Ups,’ she said. “It’s funny. You don’t have to think much. And you’ll recognize everyone in it.”

“Thank you,” I said. “I will. Have a good night!”

When I got home, I had a hankering for hummus. Spinach hummus. I had a renewed energy, AND I had the chickpeas, the spinach and the tahini. All I needed was a recipe. I Googled and found four recipes that sounded good, but each seemed incomplete. So I combined them, added a few of my own ideas, and made what gave me the worst and happiest garlic breath ever. Here’s the recipe, to the best of my recollection:

1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained (but save the liquid)
2 T tahini
2 T lemon juice
1-5 garlic cloves (depends on how much you love garlic)
¼ t black pepper
¼ t sea salt (I’m pretty sure regular salt would work, too)
2 C fresh spinach
1 15-ounce can artichokes (in water)
4-5 pieces of sun-dried tomatoes

Throw everything in a food processor and process until smooth, adding the reserved chickpea liquid as necessary, depending on what consistency you want. Next time I might add some fat-free Greek yogurt for a smoother texture. Anyway, it made 3 cups. Holy wow. I gave half to Larry to take home (he was in da’burgh and stopped by yesterday). Now he has wretched and happy garlic breath, too.

Anyway, later that night, I watched “Grown Ups,” and I laughed and laughed, all alone, by myself, completely comfortable. Inane movie? Yes. Simple movie? Yes. But it put me right again, at least in terms of mood, and I have only the woman at Wal-Mart to thank.
I don’t think I’ve ever been so inspired/humbled/moved/provoked to think by blog comments as I was with the ones from my last blog. (I hope this link will take you to them.) If I could, I’d engage everyone who wrote in a personal conversation about what’s going on with them and why that post resonated with them. If only we could all get together at a Sbux and chat… Oh how fun would that be? Too bad I don’t play the lottery, because if I won, I’d send “yinz to da’burgh” for a GTG  Thank you so much for sharing what you do. It’s not only me who you get thinking. There are a lot of lurkers out there (at least technology tells me there are) and I know more than a few of me and those who posted and emailed have the “I just want to feel comfortable in my body and not worry, fuss or fight about it anymore” dream. So thank you, again, for your comments. I have printed them and will put them in my journal for those times when I need a reality check.

Not that THAT ever happens…no, no, heck no.

6 thoughts on “Wal-Mart, Spinach Hummus, and Commonality

  1. Isn't it amazing how an unplanned serendipitous moment can completely change your outlook, especially when there is an element of empathy? I suspect that the woman you encountered also walked (limped) away with a feeling of contentment from the encounter. You may feel alone sometimes in what you are experiencing but you are not alone. Your virtual and real friends empathize. One last comment that I hope you don't find too intrusive: are you experiencing a bit of depression that is totally to be expected given your experiences of the past year? Sometimes just the mere acknowledgment of it makes it easier to cope with and enjoy life. And please hit me over the head if this is a duh or obvious question.

  2. Oh how I hate to read you suffer inside. But you are walking thru it. There is light at the end of the tunnel and that is something to hold onto. Like this lady you met out of the blue –a symbol of light for you. Is there a support group you can attend or a meditation group?

  3. Wal Mart shopper fan here. I've discovered their low fat cottage cheese. Its my new favorite, and I'm so glad to not have to go to rip-off Safeway to get my old favorite cottage cheese.

    And i love those moments of commonality–seems they are few and far between these days.

  4. Interesting read, yes “reward meal” sounds better than “cheat meal”. If you take is as a reward and eat it sensibly it will really help you to do better.

  5. I really liked “Grown Ups” myself too, I thought it was brilliant!

    (I am one of the lurkers you've spoken about and it took me a while to get my act together and post a reply after I read you've got the tech to track us 😛 )

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